What is the Treatment for Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a prevalent oral health issue that affects millions of people worldwide. Characterized by inflammation of the gums and the structures supporting the teeth, gum disease can lead to serious complications if left untreated. Fortunately, various gum disease treatments, including dental implants, offer hope for those struggling with this condition.
Understanding Gum Disease
Gum disease is a progressive condition that begins with gingivitis, a mild form of gum inflammation. If not addressed, it can advance to periodontitis, a more severe stage that damages the bone supporting the teeth. The primary cause of gum disease is the accumulation of plaque – a sticky, colorless film of bacteria – on the teeth and along the gumline. When plaque is not effectively removed through proper oral hygiene practices, it hardens into tartar, leading to irritation and inflammation of the gums.
Gum disease has various stages. How to treat gum disease will depend on the severity of the condition.
- Gingivitis: This is the early stage of gum disease and is usually reversible with proper oral hygiene practices such as regular brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleanings.
- Mild to Moderate Periodontitis: Scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) is one of the most common gum disease treatments for this stage. It involves removing plaque and tartar from above and below the gumline and smoothing the root surfaces to help gums reattach to teeth.
- Advanced Periodontitis: In severe cases, surgical treatment for gum disease, including laser surgery and grafting may be necessary to repair damaged bone and tissue.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Early detection and treatment for gum disease is crucial to preventing its progression. Some common symptoms include:
- Bleeding Gums: Gums that bleed easily, particularly during brushing or flossing, are a clear sign of gum inflammation.
- Swollen or Red Gums: Healthy gums should appear pink and firm. Swollen or red gums indicate underlying inflammation.
- Bad Breath: Persistent bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be attributed to the bacteria produced by gum disease.
- Receding Gums: As gum disease advances, the gums may start to recede, leading to an elongated appearance of the teeth.
- Sensitive Teeth: Gum disease can cause increased tooth sensitivity to temperature changes and pressure.
- Pain or Discomfort: Individuals with advanced gum disease may experience pain while chewing or applying pressure to the affected area.
How to Treat Gum Disease
One of the best gum disease treatments is prevention. Regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings can help identify and address early signs of gum disease. Additionally, how to treat gum disease typically consists of an oral hygiene routine that includes brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash can significantly reduce the risk of developing gum disease.
Non-surgical treatment for gum disease can effectively reverse the condition. These include:
- Professional Dental Cleanings: A dental hygienist uses specialized tools to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and gum line.
- Scaling and Root Planing: This deep cleaning procedure involves removing plaque and tartar from the teeth and gums to help gums heal and reattach to the tooth.
Advanced Treatment for Gum Disease
When gum disease progresses to the advanced stage of periodontitis, the damage can be irreversible, leading to tooth loss and bone deterioration.
Surgical treatment for gum disease may be necessary for those individuals struggling with more advanced periodontitis. These include:
- Grafting: Rebuilding or reshaping of soft tissue and bone to help done loose teeth in place to protect the tooth’s root from sensitivity and decay.
- Laser Surgery: Minimally invasive surgery to treat and regenerate soft tissue and bone. Gently reduces bacteria and inflammation without incisions or stitches to create a clean environment for healing.
- Dental Implant Treatment: Removing failing teeth and replacing them with artificial tooth roots in order to preserve jawbone density and remove bacteria from the gums and soft tissues.
Dental Implants as a Treatment for Gum Disease
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots made of biocompatible materials like titanium, which are surgically inserted into the jawbone. These implants serve as a stable foundation for prosthetic teeth, such as crowns or dentures, to be securely attached. Dental implants offer an innovative and effective solution for restoring both the aesthetics and functionality of the mouth and provide several advantages, including improved speech, natural appearance, enhanced chewing ability, and preservation of jawbone density.
In cases where gum disease has resulted in tooth loss or irreparable damage, dental implants can play a pivotal role in restoring oral health. Dental implants involve surgically placing a metal post (usually made of titanium) into the jawbone, which acts as an anchor for a replacement tooth or crown.
Advantages of dental implants for gum disease treatments include:
- Preservation of Jawbone: Dental implants stimulate the jawbone, preventing bone loss that commonly occurs when teeth are missing. This helps maintain facial structure and oral health.
- Natural Aesthetics: Implant-supported prosthetic teeth closely resemble natural teeth in appearance, providing patients with renewed confidence in their smiles.
- Improved Functionality: Dental implants restore chewing and speaking abilities, enhancing overall quality of life.
- Longevity: With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime, making them a durable and cost-effective solution.
Gum Disease Can Impact You From Head to Toe
Not attending to gum disease or receiving gum disease treatments can put you at increased risk of illness, including conditions like:
- Stroke: People with gum disease have 2-3x the risk of having a stroke. – Harvard
- Bone loss: Gum disease can cause rapid progression of bone loss in the jaw if left untreated. Bone loss may be permanent and can cause your facial features to change dramatically. – Mayo Clinic
- Heart Disease: Gum disease can intensify existing heart conditions and can increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. – The American Academy of Periodontology
- Respiratory Infection: Dental plaque buildup creates a dangerous source of bacteria that can be inhaled into the lungs. Inhaling bacteria from the mouth and throat can lead to pneumonia. – Annals of Periodontology
- Cancer: Gum disease increases the relative risk of developing cancer by 24%. – Johns Hopkins
- Diabetes: 93% of people with gum disease are at risk of diabetes. Severe gum disease can increase blood sugar, putting people with diabetes at increased risk for diabetic complications. – The American Academy of Periodontology
Other Complications: Left untreated, gum disease may increase your risk of cardiovascular, kidney, pancreatic, and Alzhemier’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, preterm childbirth, and more.
How to Treat Gum Disease Conclusion
Gum disease is a common yet serious oral health concern that requires timely intervention to prevent irreversible damage. Early detection, preventive measures, and non-surgical treatments can effectively address mild cases of gum disease. However, for individuals with advanced gum disease leading to tooth loss and bone deterioration, dental implants offer a revolutionary solution that not only restores oral function but also enhances aesthetics and preserves overall oral health. Consulting with a qualified dental professional is essential to determine the most suitable treatment plan based on individual needs and conditions, ensuring a healthy and confident smile for years to come.
At ClearChoice, we aim to help you achieve optimal dental health and are committed to improving the lives of those suffering with failing teeth by providing the best care possible to transform your life in a positive, meaningful way. If you have additional questions about treatment for gum disease or want to learn more about permanent teeth replacement options, schedule a free consultation at your local ClearChoice center today.